CFA Statement on Fall 2021 Repopulation

Like many of you, on December 9, we learned of the CSU’s plan to return to on-campus instruction for Fall 2021 from an article by the Los Angeles Times. Since the Chancellor failed to notify CFA, we immediately demanded a meet and confer to discuss the impact of repopulating our campuses on faculty health and safety, and the safety of our campus communities.

Because of that demand over Fall 2021 planning, CSU administration is meeting with us on January 14 and 15. We have additionally demanded that the CSU extend family leave programs while we continue to shelter in place throughout the state.

Our team will let management know that the voices of our members matter and any type of repopulation plan – statewide or at the campus-level – must include input from faculty and students.

The past year has taken its toll on all of us, and has had an adverse and disproportionate impact on faculty and students of color and women. Management must take into account our members’ physical and mental safety with any repopulation plan.

In addition, CFA leaders plan to address these topics with CSU management:

  1. The availability of vaccines.
  2. Verification and privacy issues come into play with vaccines or illness. Policing and profiling could be a problem, as well.
  3. Options for continued remote instruction for vulnerable faculty. Faculty should be able to choose virtual instruction if their circumstances require it, such as risk factor(s), unable to receive vaccination, and/or family care.
  4. Transportation and risk factors for faculty who use public transportation or don’t drive their own cars to campus.
  5. Provisions for individuals who cannot or will not get vaccines, as well as for visitors on campus who may come into contact with faculty, staff, and students.
  6. Protocols for safety, i.e. access to personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation, clean surfaces, clean air, etc.
  7. Protocols for outbreaks and if the CSU plans involve going above and beyond OSHA standards.
  8. Protocols for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, including: distancing, face coverings, work space sanitation, and testing on campus.
  9. Classroom details like scheduling and space reconfigurations (one example: three credit courses on two days/week for one-and-a-half hours vs three days/week for one hour can help limit exposure).
  10. The configuration of spaces outside of classrooms such as conferences and meetings, libraries, mental health clinics, and athletic facilities.
  11. Faculty with shared office space and smaller work areas that need better ventilation or airing out.
  12. Mental health needs in light of COVID-19.
  13. Other state, county, and/or local health mandates that may come up, including stay-at-home or other public health orders,  and how this will impact our faculty, staff, and students.
  14. Whether there will be a campus point person (with medical privacy ensured) for concerns, hazards, and infection reporting.
  15. Workload issues for switching teaching modes.
  16. Whether the CSU will adapt already outdated/unsafe campus spaces, which lack proper ventilation and/or sanitation.

Additionally, CFA leaders are also pursuing an extension or continuation of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave (CPAL) or a similar leave program for our members dealing with continuous hardships due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. CSU’s leave program, CPAL, and its offering of federally mandated Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on December 31, 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic is ongoing and many CSU faculty members are working from home alongside their children without access to school and childcare. This problem is felt nationally, with a significant and harmful impact on women and single parents. The December job report demonstrates the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women, and closed schools and lack of access to childcare is part of the reason so many women have dropped out of the workforce. The Chancellor has an opportunity to ensure gender equality in the CSU by extending paid leave programs so that working families can manage all the demands placed on them right now. 

We know that these are not the only topics of importance for our members, so we want to hear directly from you. CFA created this web form and we need you to fill it out and answer this question: what does CSU management need to do to insure a safe return to your campus?

Thank you all and we will continue to update you throughout this process. If you haven’t become a member of CFA yet, you can sign up here. Your membership allows CFA to continue our diligent work protecting faculty health, safety, and contract rights.

In union,

Charles Toombs, CFA President  
Kevin Wehr, CFA Vice President  
Diane Blair, CFA Secretary  
Susan Green, CFA Treasurer  
Leslie Bryan, CFA Associate Vice President, Lecturers, South  
Meghan O’Donnell, CFA Associate Vice President, Lecturers, North
Darel Engen, CFA Associate Vice President, South  
Margarita Berta-Ávila, CFA Associate Vice President, North  
Sharon Elise, CFA Associate Vice President, Racial & Social Justice, South  
Chris Cox, CFA Associate Vice President, Racial & Social Justice, North